The Grapevine

Burger King Pulls Sodas From Kids' Menu To Provide Healthy Options 'That Match Lifestyle Needs'

kid eating burger
Burger King kids' meals will no longer have sodas included in the package, but will instead have 100 percent apple juice, fat-free milk, or low-fat chocolate milk. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The desire to pair your Whopper or Big Mac with a Coca Cola was most likely conditioned into your habits and brain’s pleasure system at a young age, when you were first introduced to packaged meals on the kids' menu — complete with Chicken McNuggets deliciously matched with a mini soda.

Now, Burger King is joining McDonald’s and other fast food companies in an attempt to cleanse its meal packages and make them healthier — by removing soda from kids meals. BK will substitute soda with low-fat chocolate milk, fat-free milk, and 100 percent apple juice, after a decision to pull sugary soft drinks from the kids' meal menus (though they'll remain as an option, they will no longer come in the packaged deal).

The change goes along with the company’s “effort to offer our guests options that match lifestyle needs,” Alex Macedo, Burger King North America’s president, told USA Today.

Sugary soft drinks are a major source of calories for children and are one of the biggest contributing factors to childhood obesity. Obesity has doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2012, over one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. Because of this epidemic, Michelle Obama — and other health activists — have attempted to trigger a systemic change that would cause fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and school cafeterias to pay more of a mindful heed toward what they’re serving people.

The big chains like McDonald’s and Burger King have gotten the most pressure, and lately there’s been a transformation: McDonald’s, for example, has placed more fruit and salad options on its menu, as well as boasting a “Favorites under 400 calories” menu from which people can choose smaller meals.

Meanwhile, activists who have been pushing Burger King to remove soda for the past two years believe that the action will jumpstart children to have healthier lifestyles.

“It will help children eat better now, as soda is the leading source of calories in children’s diets,” Margo Wootan, the director of nutrition policy for Center for Science in the Public Interest (the advocacy group responsible for pressuring Burger King into the decision), told USA Today. “It also helps to set kids on a path toward healthier eating in the future, with fewer kids becoming conditioned to think that soda should be a part of every eating out occasion.”

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